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General Requirements

Political science majors at Boise State University have an opportunity to enjoy a unique and challenging educational experience. The university’s location in the capital city provides many resources not readily available at other schools, including such resources as the state law library, state archives, and state and federal government offices.

Majors in political science are prepared for further study at the graduate level or for a variety of careers. Many of our students become teachers or lawyers. Others work for large corporations as public affairs officers or for federal, state, or local governments in numerous capacities. Some become reporters, lobbyists, or campaign managers; some have been elected to public office. Individual faculty may offer sample syllabi on their own web pages. Please see the faculty roster for more information.

In addition to university degree requirements, the undergraduate curriculum for a major in political science is divided into the following three parts:

1. Required Courses (21 credits)

All students must take:

  • POLS 101 American National Government
  • POLS 200 Introduction to Politics
  • POLS 298 Introduction to Political Inquiry
  • POLS 398 Advanced Political Science Methods

Two or three of the following courses depending upon your catalog year:

  • POLS 300 American Political Institutions and Behavior
  • POLS 305 Comparative Politics: Theories, Methods, and Political Processes
  • POLS 306 International Relations: Actors, Interactions, and Methods
  • POLS 315 Political Philosophy

2. Area of Emphasis Courses (12 Credits)

Political science majors choose four courses from any one of the following areas of emphasis: American Government and Public Policy, International Relations, or Public Law and Political Philosophy. Please visit the undergraduate catalog for course descriptions.

American Government and Public Policy
This area is offered to students who wish to concentrate their attention on the American political process and behavior. National, state, and local political institutions and their administration are studies, as well as public opinion and voting behavior.

International Relations
The International Relations emphasis is designed for students wishing to concentrate on comparative and international politics. A variety of courses is offered on the foreign policies of the United States and major world powers, as well as on international law, international political economy, and political behavior in industrial democracies, post-communist systems, and developing nations.

Public Law and Political Philosophy
For students who wish to enter law school. Political science in considered one of the principle areas of preparation for aspiring law students, and special attention is given to political thought, past and present, and the development of political and legal institutions.

3. Elective Courses (6 or 9 Credits)
To complete the political science major, students must also select six or nine additional upper division political science courses. The amount a student needs will depend on their catalog year. Students may use no more than three credits of POLS 493 internship to go towards this requirement and no more than three credits of POLS 494 workshops.

Political Science, Social Science, Secondary Education Emphasis
The department also offers a secondary education option for prospective public school teachers and a minor in political science for those students who wish to major in another field.

This emphasis is part of a cooperative, interdisciplinary program involving the departments of anthropology, economics, history, and sociology. Students choosing this emphasis must complete additional courses in education and teaching strategies as well as submit an application for admission to this emphasis.